Write down a list of questions. It’s easier if you have a few questions in mind when you’re meeting someone for the first time. Where do you work? What’s your typical work day? How did college prepare you for your career? Would you have done anything differently? Do you have any advice for me if I wanted to get into a similar profession?
Go with a friend. Find a friend to go with you who also wants to build their networking skills. Mutual support is comforting, but don’t just hang out together in a corner. Get out there!
Set a goal. Start with a goal of meeting two people at an event, the next time three, and keep adding.
Ask for an introduction. After you meet someone, ask if there’s anyone else they think you should meet, either within the group or for a one-on-one meeting.
Give them your business card. You’ll make a huge impression when you give someone your business card. Keep it simple and professional. Nothing cute. Include your name, phone number, and email address. Don’t include your Facebook account. That’s social, not professional. Search for printing companies online that offer deals, like printing your first order of business cards for free. Or, buy business card stock you can print yourself.
Get their business card. Make sure you ask for their business card so you have their contact information.
Always, always, always follow up. It’s the little things you do that are going to make a huge difference. It’s your responsibility to follow up with the people you meet. It’ll really set you apart. Many professionals don’t even do this. Send them an email, call them, or, to really stand out, send them a thank you note. Thank them for taking the time to meet with you, and mention what you talked about and what you learned from them.